And I Saw God’s Glory!

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  Isaiah 6:1-3 (NIV)

[1]  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

[2]  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:  With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

[3]  And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

It’s difficult to know when reading passages of Scripture in the Bible whether God’s GLORY refers to His actual glory or to human recognition of it.  This is true, for example, when Scripture speaks of the earth being full of the GLORY of the Lord.

In Isaiah 6, we see the call and commissioning of Isaiah, the prophet.

We don’t know for sure, but we assume that Isaiah was in the earthly temple.  However, the temple described in verse 1 is the Heavenly Temple.

In the year King Uzziah died it may be like saying the year Pearl Harbor was bombed, in the year JFK was shot, or in the year the Bomb was dropped.  This was a time in the nation of crisis and change that the prophet came face to face with the King of Kings.

HOLINESS tells us that Jesus is the exact representation or image of God.  What many have lost is the holiness of God.  God has become “the man upstairs”, or “the God next door”.  Max Lucado said it well:  “Immanuel, God with us.”

In Jesus Christ, God came near.  Something of the awesomeness and greatness– His GLORY has been forgotten.  The church culture has so allowed the culture around us to shape the way we do things.  The customer satisfaction mentality has invaded our churches we have to be sure not to offend anyone– WORSHIP is all about them.

Here in Isaiah, we see that WORSHIP is all about God.

When we see and sing the words on the Big Screen in church or out of a hymn book, we need to remember the songs are all about Him.  When you read History in the Bible, you need to remember, it’s His story.  What Isaiah got was probably more than he bargained for in a worship service.

God’s High Position (6:1) – Beholding His Glory

[1]  IN THE year that King Uzziah died, [in a vision] I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the skirts of His train filled the [most holy part of the] temple.  [John 12:41]  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah was reminded that God is sovereign.  When God showed up, Isaiah saw God high and lifted up.  He saw God in His greatness and holiness.  With everything that was happening, God was in complete control while sitting on His throne in heaven.

Here in Isaiah 6:1, looking at several different Bible translations, you can see Lord spelled in all caps–i.e., LORD; and others, Lord.  I just had to dig deeper here.

LORD (all caps or small caps) reflects the original term “YHWH”, while Lord (standard capitalization) is the English rendition of the Hebrew Adonai, meaning “to be”; “the Lord God Almighty, the sovereign or supreme one.”  It suggests that God simply is i.e., He possesses an underived existence; He is the eternal “I AM”.  This name became a special designation–emphasized in God’s relations ship to the nation of Israel.  [“LORD and Lord – What’s the Difference? by The Christian Courier] 

John 12:37-40 clearly tells us that Isaiah was seeing Jesus on the throne!

Isaiah saw God on the throne with His hand on the throttle in complete control.

  • When it says DISEASE–God is on the throne!
  • When the boss says you’re FIRED–God is on the throne!
  • When our children DISOBEY–God is on the throne!

Isaiah saw God high and lifted up, but he also heard the Seraphim cry “Holy, Holy, Holy”

THE HOLINESS OF GOD

The Holiness of God is, His being in a class by Himself with His perfection and greatness and worth.  All His perfection and greatness and worth are distinct and separate–we’ve been taught that HOLY means separate–His in a class by Himself.

HIS HOLINESS IS WHAT HE IS AS GOD THAT NOBODY ELSE IS –

His quality of perfection can’t be improved upon, can’t be imitated, and that determines that He is all of that and nothing is determined from outside Him.

Now when Isaiah 6:3 says that angels are crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty”–the next thing they say is this:  “The whole earth is full of His”…and you might think “holiness” would be the next word.

But he doesn’t say holiness, he says GLORY!

Essentially, “holy”, essentially holy, and the whole earth is full of His GLORY.

I stab a definition here by saying the GLORY OF GOD is the manifest beauty of His holiness.  It’s the going public of His Holiness.  It’s the way He puts His holiness on display for people to apprehend.

Read the words from Leviticus 10:3:  God says He will be shown to be HOLY among those who are near Him and before all the people He will be honored.

I will be shown to be holy,” He says.  “And among ALL the people” — say it another way–“I will be glorified.”

The Worship Connection of His Holiness and Glory –

What on earth does all this have to do with our worship?

EVERYTHING!!!

If you divorce or separate God’s holiness from worship, all you have is entertainment.  Why start on time, why do things in order, why not distract others during the song service and preaching?  Because we should be focusing on the greatness of God!!!

WHY THE CROSS?

The cross was ultimately the result of God’s Holiness.  Sinful man can’t stand in the presence of a Holy God.  God took care of the ‘sin problem.’

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

[21]  For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

This God that’s HOLY and separate is the God we need to see in our worship–in our everyday living.

Isaiah’s Posture of Humility in God’s Glory and Holiness –

“Woe to me!  I am ruined and undone…”  (6:5)

To Isaiah’s peers, he was upright. a righteous man, a man of unmatched integrity.  AND then just one glimpse of God’s greatness changed his whole self-perception.

It took God to reveal his guilt, it took a picture of deity to reveal Isaiah’s filthiness–his sin.

Have you ever seen God in such a way that revealed who you really are?

Have you ever recognized that you are a sinner that’s separated from God without hope?

That’s what the VISION did for Isaiah.  It revealed reality to him–God sees us as we are, where we are in life right now!  He sees your heart!!

What happened when Isaiah saw this VISION of God?

CONVICTION –

“Woe is me!  I am undone and ruined.”

The Hebrew word for “undone”:  to come apart at the seams.  Isaiah was totally exposed for who he was before a holy God.

CONFESSION –

A vision of the holiness of God that brings true conviction of sin is always followed by the confession of sin.

I love Billy Ricks’ slant of this fact:  “Regardless of excuses, sin is a prison from which you can never be freed until you admit it’s your own fault that you were thrown in the slammer.”

CLEANSING –

Because Isaiah came clean he was made clean.  The cleansing power of God went to work on Isaiah’s behalf.

God is HOLY and also merciful.  When we confess our sins to Him, God goes to work.  He cleanses us with the Blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9).

What is the big deal about WORSHIP in Christian America today?

To me, it’s about seeing God in all of His manifested GLORY.  Let me break that down just a bit.  When someone says, “Look at the wind blowing outside,” and when you peer out the window you can’t actually see the wind.  What you see is the effect that the wind has on the objects it’s blowing on–the trees, a flag, a hat blown off one’s head.  So when God breathes, you can’t visibly see His breath, but you can see His GLORY manifested in your surroundings.  Just look around you!

In seeing God for who He is we can see ourselves as we truly are.  The church culture of today has so allowed the culture around us shape the way we do things.  The customer satisfaction mentality has infiltrated our churches.

Here is a heavenly worship service where Isaiah saw a fresh vision of God.  From this vision of God’s HOLINESS, Isaiah was inspired to pen words like Isaiah 40:8.

What churches and Christians in America desperately need is a fresh vision of God’s holiness and His Glory.  We don’t need a new revelation because all that God is and has for us is revealed in Christ Jesus.

We give God the GLORY!!!

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CREDITS

Commentary:  John Piper’s “What Is God’s Glory” at desiringGod.org.

Music Video:  “I SAW THE LORD” by Dallas Holmes – YouTube.

Images:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified (AMP); King James Version (KJV).

“Why Go to Church?” (Part I)

WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH
WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH

*A NOTE: I would like to thank my pastor, Kyle Hopkins for his MESSAGE this past Sunday in the Psalms, for which my detective work was launched from.

PSALM 84:1-4, 10 Amplified Bible:

[1] “HOW LOVELY are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!  [2] My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God.  [3] Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young–even Your altars, O lord of hosts, my King and my God.                        [4] BLESSED are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long.  Selah [pause, and calm;y think of that]!  [10] For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.” 

“I’m grateful for the DESIRE I HAVE to go” —

I’ve learn over the years of my Christian life, no matter how I feel at the time; disenchanted, hurt feelings, rejection, disappointment–GOD has placed a DEEP DESIRE inside of me; to be a part of the Assembly on Sunday mornings.  Oh, just in case you might be thinking I’ve conjured up all this over time, you’re wrong!  I have always looked for and sought the things that I needed for my journey through life.

I wasn’t raised as child in a CHURCH.  In fact, I didn’t accept JESUS as my Lord and Savior until the age of thirty; my wife also accepted the Lord the same night at the age of twenty-eight.  So HABIT didn’t come into play as a REASON for going to church.  Although, going to church weekly, isn’t a bad HABIT at all!

“So what are the REASONS for going?”

To name a few…

I find HOPE,

I can find HELP,

I find FELLOWSHIP,

I find UNDERSTANDING,

I find WORSHIP.

That is my list, I’ve written down over the years.  Your list may be somewhat different; more items, less… but it helps keep the FOCUS on why go to church at all?

Have I always found the items listed above weekly, or have I just been going through the motions?  REMEMBER, your attitude in “going” can certainly determine your “altitude” after you get there!

THIS IS A PSALM OF THE “TABERNACLE” (Psalm 84):

It is thought by many that this Psalm was written by King David in exile from Jerusalem during the rebellion of his son Absalom.  If that is the case, it plainly reveals the heart, the DESIRE of David.

DAVID was a man who loved the House of the Lord!

There was no place on this earth so special as that ONE PLACE; a place the Lord had chosen to place His Name, to demonstrate His presence.  For David, the TABERNACLE was the place he desired to be.

In Isaiah, we can see the godly desire displayed from the heart:

“…we wait [expectantly] for You; our heartfelt desire is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.  My soul yearns for You [O Lord] in the night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You earnestly…”  (Isaiah 26:8-9 AMP).

I know that the TRUE HOUSE is in heaven and His TRUE TABERNACLE is now in the heart of the believer (John 1:14).  However, the visible symbol of both these things is the CHURCH.

David’s entire being longed to go to “Church”–

David DESIRED to be present at the House of God; his soul, his body and his heart longed to be at the place of WORSHIP!

Maybe David remembered what many believers in God have forgotten, that the House of the Lord can be an OASIS in the desert, in the wilderness of the world, in the storms of life.

WHATEVER thoughts occupied his mind, when he thought of the House of God, his pulse quickened–his eyes brightened–he longed to be there!  All through David’s life he DESIRED to be in the TABERNACLE; the place where God DWELLS:

Psalm 27:4:

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord  [in His presence]  all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty  [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness]  of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.”

1 Chronicles 29:3:

“Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, in addition to all I have prepared for the holy house, I have a private treasure of gold and silver, which I give for the house of my God:”

Even in EXILE, even when David couldn’t physically be there, the king DESIRED to ‘go to church’!  Far too many of us (I’ve been in this spot at times of discomfort) see CHURCH as something either to take or leave.  BUT God’s Spirit will bring us (eventually) to understand “The desires of the heart  reveal the condition of the soul.”

What we long for in life REVEALS what we love and what you love REVEALS WHO’S you are!

THERE IS A VERY GOOD REASON FOR YEARNING, LONGING TO GO:

I’ve come to realize in my life…

It’s a PLACE to meet God (Psalm 84:2 (b)):  “…my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God.”

I REALIZE that the Lord is ALWAYS with His children,

“…for He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not,  [I will] not,  [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let  [you] down (relax My hold on you)!”  (Hebrews 13:5 AMP).

I REALIZE  that God dwells in His children,  “I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age”  (Matthew 28:20).

“To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the ] glory”  (Colossians 1:27 AMP).

“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received  [as a Gift] from God?  You are not your own”  (1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP).  

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come [back] to you”  (John 14:18).

I’VE ALSO come to REALIZE…

GOD has promised to MEET with His people when they gather together to WORSHIP Him.

“For wherever two or three are gathered  (drawn together as My followers)  in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them [Exodus 3:14]”  (Matthew 18:20 AMP).

I don’t want to be like Thomas who was absent when the Lord showed up and missed the blessing (John 20:19-24).

*NOTE:  The Bible points out that Thomas was missing!

Just between us, I think He notices it when we’re missing too!

A PLACE WHERE WE CAN TRULY LIVE:

“Really, a place to reside in?”

As David thought of the Lord’s House, how far away from it he was, he began to REFLECT on the little birds making their homes in the small places in the Tabernacle.

Have you ever noticed upon entering a large Box Store to shop, the birds in the rafters high above chirping and fluttering about?  As David must have noticed, he thinks about these birds and mentions two: the SPARROW and the SWALLOW.

If these birds could be labeled, the sparrow would be the “worthless bird” and the swallow, the “wandering bird”.  However, David tells us that both the worthless sparrow and the wandering swallow found exactly what they needed in the confines of the House of God.

It is the place for the UNWANTED (Matthew 10:29)–hospfeeding

The sparrow was worthless and unwanted as they would arrive in great numbers as unwanted guests.  They came needy, looking for a place of shelter and food.  They found what they came after too!

What a picture these little birds are to the sinner!  There are contrasts as well.

The SINNER is invited to come to the Lord–

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you rest”  (Matthew 11:28).

Though there are many, there is room for all:  “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”  (Romans 10:13).  

ALL are in need for shelter and food and are promised to find plenty of provision in the Lord for all.